Hello darlings! Today’s Guest Contributor is the lovely and talented, Mitzi Beach. Mitzi is an expert in downsizing ones’ home, a topic I know interests many of you. I hope you love this article as much as I did. Enjoy! (This post was updated on July 28, 2020)
Downsizing Is Essential
The timing for writing this blog could not be more perfect. You see, my husband recently moved to Ohio from Kansas. Therefore, while the realities of my own downsizing are crystal clear in my mind, I write this article for any of you considering or any of you that are in the process downsizing. I want to give you a huge pat on the back for doing this challenging task right now. And for you, dear friends, who are procrastinating doing your own downsizing, please read on to know why doing it now is utterly essential.
10 Reasons To Downsize Right Now
1. Life Will Change, Be Ready!
When my husband and I completely restored a 1930s home in 2004, it was to be our “aging in place” forever home. We never, ever, expected his major cancer diagnosis to alter our well-laid-out plans. Although we had already downsized from our family home of over 30 years, oh boy, did we still have way too much stuff to deal with for our next major relocation.
2. Your Children Will Kiss Your Feet After Your Passing
I know it’s a bit of dark humor, but trust me when I say your children will be grateful you thought of them with such high regard. They will be spared from going through your myriad of possessions after your passing. You will give them a huge gift of loving consideration that keeps them from this daunting task after you are gone.
3. Your Home’s Downsizing Is Like a Body Cleanse, Eliminating Your Home of Its Toxins
By downsizing and eliminating your excess possessions, your house will be “cleansed”. Just like when we do a body detox, you will likely experience more energy after. This is due to your home visually looking better to you. Did you know there is actually such a thing as visual clutter? Excess of anything, even clutter, causes stress and robs precious energy from us. All the more reason to cleanse your home of unneeded stuff!
4. Do Not Avoid Doing a Complete Downsizing by Renting a Storage Unit. This Is Cheating Unless You Are in Transition
Renting a storage unit is cheating, unless you are in a transition period. Trust me, we learned this the hard way. We lived in an apartment while our former 1930s home was going through a major restoration. We rented several storage units to aid us in keeping our excess things. However, the agony of going through so much stuff after we moved was one of the most depressing times I can remember.
5. To Live a More Fulfilling Happier Life, Give Your Excess or Unused Things Away to Those Who Really Need Them
Another absolute truth, more joy is realized from giving than by receiving, always. Some downsizers have garage or estate sales, or sell online. I do not judge this endeavor in any way but for me, I gave, gave, and gave to my friends, to my family, to the DAV, and to a dear friend supporting an orphanage in Africa. And you know what I learned? That these truly amazing women in charge of these orphaned children pray for me regularly. I am humbled by this fact. Always donate when you can. Trust me, you will be happier for it!
6. Accept the Fact That Your Adult Children Do Not Want Your Furniture or Possessions
Without a doubt, this is a tough realization for most of us. However, if you listen to most downsizers who have already experienced this lesson, they will tell you the same story. Trying to convince their adult children the value of their china and other possessions is a difficult task. Save yourself and your children from this major potential conflict. The majority of adult children do not value what we value. Have a plan ahead of time and save yourself and your kids from this no-win scenario. And remember, no guilt is allowed!
7. To Live a Less-Stressful Life, Possess Less
My own example is when my clothes closet has not been weeded out. When this happens, getting dressed goes like this: “No, not that, hmmm, maybe, and finally, yes, this will work.” I then have this self-talk, “Seriously Mitzi, get busy and get organized downsizing your own closet!”
This means that every time I’m getting ready to go out, if my closet is not organized and downsized with my own clothes, shoes, jewelry, scarfs, purses, whether it is unconscious or a conscious reality, I experience daily stress that could be avoided. When this happens, I know it’s time to donate and downsize my closet.
8. Acknowledge That Every Single Thing You Own Takes up Real Estate Regardless If It Is Behind Closed Doors or Is on Display
If on display, your items will need maintenance, like cleaning or arranging. If behind all those closed cabinet doors or closet doors, even if they’re not seen, someday you or your loved ones will have to pay the price of going through it all. Ask yourself for any given item you own: is it worth all this effort?
9. Become a Role Model of an Organized, Peaceful Home
Most everyone is trying to accomplish an organized, peaceful, home. If you can do it, your family and friends could be inspired to do the same. One of the favorite compliments I receive is when someone comes into our home and says, “Oh your home is so peaceful.” To me, this translates to a home that has order and distinct space planning, a home that dictates the purpose of each space. Accessories are displayed with a calculated plan, along with a soothing background without too much going on for most people’s visual consumption.
However, for this downsizing blog, the obvious reason I would often receive my favorite compliment lies in the fact that I have carefully avoided that “little stuff disease.” Hopefully, none of you are afflicted with this “disease” of having too many small pieces of furniture or an endless amount of accessories. This in itself is a huge reason to downsize!
10. Experience More Life
Lastly, and perhaps my most important reasoning for making a complete downsize to my new home, is that I desperately want to experience more of life. I am adamant about not being weighed down by my possessions.
When I was doing research for one of my CEUs, (Continuing Education Units), “Marketing and Designing to Millennials to Boomers,” I was struck by an astonishing fact. I learned that both of these demographics actually have tons in common. For example, the majority of Millennials enjoy spending their money on travel, concerts, and being with their friends. This is their biggest priority. Likewise, the Boomers, or the O50s (what I call the over 50) partake in the very same behaviors.
For me, downsizing will enable me to experience life versus collecting more things that will bog me down. Since this is my priority, I will do whatever it takes to keep what I own to a pleasant, personal minimum.
Am I there yet? Oh no, not by a long shot, but I have made huge progress. I absolutely will reach my ultimate goal of living with less as I give my own personal downsizing my best effort.
There is, however, one little thing that I only admit to my inner circle. Here it is–I am a shoe alcoholic! So do not be surprised if you notice what I am wearing at any given event. Why? This is because you will probably notice my shoes for sure. Please give me this one little blemish on my downsizing scorecard and if I should ever go to shoe rehab, I will let you know!
Have you downsized? Share your story and ask questions in the comments below or join the conversation on Facebook & Instagram.
Mitzi Beach A.S.I.D. C.A.P.S. is an award-winning Interior Designer, Author, and 50+ Demographic Marketing & LifestyleSpecialist. Author of the brand new book “Design Smarts, Inspiration for Home + Life.” Mitzi, armed with 30 years experience and a masters degree in interior design, she is one of the Design Hounds Top 100 influencers 2018, selected as a member of the prestigious Style Spotters High Point market in North Carolina, as well as High Point Market Design Bloggers Tour, quoted in The Wall Street Journal as an expert in the emerging Aging in Place (AIP) trend. Along with designers across America, her home is featured in the 2018 “Christmas by Design” book.
Dear Mitzi, you wrote a story out of my heart. I downsized also everything in my home, my closet and as I am just like you a shoe addict I even downsized my shoe closet too. And that with a shoe size American 2 1/2. was not so easy, because this size is hard to get. My handbags Louis Vuitton I sold but the rest I gave it away, just like you to an organisation that helps poor people and this felt very very good. Even my husband did his closets!
Unfortunatly most people don’t understand it, they cannot do it en keep every thing. That is a pitty because they don’t experience how good it feels. This emptyness brings so much peace, and satisfying!
As we moved to an other City 3 month ago I even did my new garden the minimal way. This is also very peacefull. And as I did the design from my garden my husband and I feel very happy with it.
I wish you all the best with this wonderfull work and keep on going. I hope your husband is now in good health. With lovely greatings from the Netherlands🌷🌷🌷
Hello Therese, Your comments bring such joy to my heart being a like minded pioneer in this downsizing stage of life, regardless of one’s age. I bet downsizing your unique shoe size collection was not easy but you persevered! I am so impresses as you already know, this is my last hoorah…:) Thank you so much for your best wishes and I send them right back to you as well! xoxo
I truly believe in what you are saying: Do not drag the clutter around with you, only for someone else to be forced to deal with it at a later date. Do it yourself now ! I have steadily been purging and it seems the need to take it down another layer will come in spurts. It’s normally right after I watch an episode of Hoarders:Buried Alive. Now I am not a hoarder, but in the past I am quite sure I was borderline, and I totally understand why people hoard. Not pure trash, but stuff. What I found works best for me is: I drag it all out (from whatever area I am clearing, maybe it’s just one drawer) and quickly cull through. Something that I haven’t looked for in quite some time goes into another area of the house to be “staged”. I have “staged” in a box by the front door, in the basement, in the garage, or even in the trunk of my car. This means it is in transition, on it’s way out. Now I take about a week to emotionally detach from the culled stuff. Sometimes I even forget what is inside the box (and do not peek!). Then when I know it’s time to let it go, I put on my to-do list for that day: Donation to _____. Drop it off, without looking at it longingly, because I am already detached and therefore do not “need” it anymore, and drive away knowing that someone like me will find this treasure on the shelf and will get it at a great price and will brag to all their friends what a “find” they have gotten, they will give it the appreciation that it deserves and it won’t be taking up space in my drawer/closet/under the bed. This system works for me and I have sold the house, sold the lawn mower, I now rent a duplex and someone else mows the yard, and if something breaks, I just call the man. My daughter has been dealing with metastasized breast cancer for about 4 years and I travel to her house to help her with my granddaughter (making room for a grandchild to come spend the night is a great motivator to clear clutter!) and I do not want the worry of what is happening to all my stuff while I am away. Life has a way of helping you shed all that doesn’t belong there anymore.
Ha ha!! I love your Horader reference Jo Ann and if it weren’t so true, it would be humorous. But as you so wisely state, this is an on going challenge that only the most determined will succeed. Brilliant tactic on having a stage box or area to re-evaluate and review the attachment to any given item. And again, your wisdom on how someone else will brag on their new found treasure is motivation for me and hopefully others that the joy is truly in the giving. What a great testimony to raise the level of reasons to downsize to ease your care of your own belongings as you unselfishly care for your daughter and granddaughter. You are a light Jo Ann of insightfullness. Keep shining brightly! xoxo Mitzi
Sadly I also am a shoe alcoholic. My children have already taken some of the mid century furniture I had when they were young. My daughters are already eyeing an old radio cabinet that was my mothers. I have already given them some of my jewelry.
Well, Pauline, I must tell you that being a shoe alholic puts you in some pretty good company…:) But kidding aside, what a joy it is that our adult “kids” appreciate the value of our belongings to enhance their own spaces in the years ahead. And for those that do not, well as I wrote, no guilt allowed as they are writing their own unique stories. Thank you so much for your relevant comment! xoxo Mitzi
When my mother got where she could not remember too well, my sister and I set up a notebook, kept in her file cabinet at all times. When she would say “Who took the XX” or “Where is my YY” we would pull out the notebook and show her the item listed, the date taken, and who had it. She was completely comforted by this written record.
I too advise against renting storage units or excess stuff (been there done that). You must handle the stuff yet again and make decisions in an uncomfortable environment – not in your house. Decide now, not later. Another mill stone gone from around your neck.
My sister and I are in de-clutter modes, both of us living alone now, far apart, and faced with having to clean up the other’s stuff when one dies. We are daily reporting to each other what we have accomplished. Some days it’s only one stack of paper, or one vanity cleaned out.
Other days, it’s half the kitchen cabinets. But it’s getting done. And there is joy and an incredible lightness of being in it.
In all my decades of acquisition and de-acquisitioning, there are only 2 things I regret letting go. But I just don’t have a space for those large pieces in my wonderful downsized two bedroom condo.
Clothing closets update:. In the year since writing the reply above, I have given away 60+ pounds of body fat. Talk about downsizing making you feel good. 98% of my old clothing and shoes are going to consignment or charity. That’s size 16 to size 6 and shoe size 8 to 7.5. Two weeks ago, podiatrist said only sandals or big toe box shoes. That takes me down to 10 pair total – 3 athletic, 3 walking, 3 sandals, 1 dress. I will soon have hundreds of empty hangers and much shoe shelf space. Outings on Zoom, to Costco, the grocery and pharmacy are minimalist and joyful living
I’m forced to acknowledge the tens of thousands of dollars I have parked in my closets only for the moments of happinesses I obtained in their acquisition. I will be backfilling at a minimalist level and accepting no hand-me-downs from a larger relative. I continue to learn how to live with less.
I will not discuss my precious books that represent a lifetime of building my little reference and entertainment library. Not touching that yet; but they are contained and beautifully shelved. Well, mostly.
I couldn’t agree more, downsizing right now is a great idea and doing it with savvy is a double bonus! Knowing what your things are worth before you do anything with them is can excellent place to start because the consignment markets, auction markets and collectables markets are on fire with record results. People are home and shopping because of COVID. They are collecting, nesting and beautifying their homes, making this a great time to sell. What may not be worth much to the kids, might return handsomely in the right marketplace.
Here are a few things I would recommend as a credentialed personal property appraiser: know that what was precious to you or expensive when you bought it may not have held its value such as figurines and manufactured brown furniture. Conversely, some of the things you might have purchased for a pittance may have increased tremendously. Treasures in your home can be hiding in plain sight. One of my first clients was planning on donating a piece of artwork her sister gave her to the Goodwill, only to discover it was an original Frank Stella valued at $16,000! Anyone thinking of downsizing would benefit greatly from a virtual valuation through FaceTime conducted by a credentialed personal property appraiser. The COVID era has opened the door to this viable and cost efficient new service. Once you know what you’ve got and what it’s worth, it’s a whole lot easier to let it go, donate or sell it.
I am so very impressed with all you have so wisely accomplished both with your mother’s home and with your own downsizing including your remarkable weight loss!
In my private Facebook group, Aging Gracefully for the 50+, this is actually my topic for this week where I am reviewing verbablly these downszing priciples. you are more than welcome to join, it is free.
What a testimony you have between you and your sister supporting each other through your reporting in to each other so to speak.
However, your wisdom on your clothing and personal items down to hardly anything is again, remarkable! I am also there with books! Many of my beloved. books represent my life story, many are signed by the author, and others are simply my treasures.
This is the value of learning downszing principles, what to keep, what to give away, and what to trash.
thank you so much for commenting, especially as a credentialed personal property appraiser! Your perspective is sooooo relevant and valuable to anyone downsizing! I learned something from you myself on doing this appraisal before getting all caught up in merely shedding our possessions versus truly realizing what value any thing may have.
I have witnessed both types of downsizing personalities. One who throws almost everything out without considering their future needs and the other type who cannot simply let go of hardly anything.
Balance, right? Finding that sweet spot to what to keep and what to give or donate is where we all want to be.